City Theatre ventures into the diary of a 16-year-old girl in 'The Monster in the Hall'

Preview
March 8, 2012 12:00 am
  • Matt Dengler, left, Melinda Helfrich, Sheila McKenna and David Whalen star in the American premiere of David Greig's "Monster in the Hall." Previews begin Friday at City Theatre, and the production runs through April 1.
    Matt Dengler, left, Melinda Helfrich, Sheila McKenna and David Whalen star in the American premiere of David Greig's "Monster in the Hall." Previews begin Friday at City Theatre, and the production runs through April 1.
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There wasn't much to go on for City Theatre artistic director Tracy Brigden to choose to create the American premiere of David Greig's "The Monster in the Hall" except for YouTube video clips from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year.

But Ms. Brigden had directed Mr. Greig's "Outlying Islands" for City in 2004, and that experience plus those videos and a few glowing reviews were enough to spark an interest in introducing Duck's world to Pittsburgh.

Duck is 16-year-old with a wild imagination and cock-eyed optimism, despite having lost her mother in a motorcycle crash. She has a crush on Lawrence from drama class, and she is caretaker to her father, Duke, who is nearly blind from multiple sclerosis. Duke is obsessed with motorcycles and playing video games and not concerned enough about the impending visit of a social worker.

'The Monster in the Hall'

Where: City Theatre, Mainstage, South Side.

When: Friday through April 1. Preview March 10-15: 5:30 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday. Regular run March 16-April 1: 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 5:30 and 9 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; also 1 p.m. March 21 and 28; no evening performance March 28.

Tickets: $30-$60; 412-431-2489 or www.citytheatrecompany.org.

The play at the Fringe fest had no set, just a chair and a few props. But at City, the four actors in "Monster" get to play on a colorful set by Narelle Sissons. There will be video projections by Larry Shea, but the lone prop is a diary. There's not even a chair and certainly not a motorcycle -- the latter being that "monster" in the title.

"The play is very much about the fantasy places we go to in our heads to escape grim realities, and Duck's life is a little tough, and so is Duke's," Ms. Brigden explained. "For Duck it's her writings and her diaries, which is very much the medieval castle-princess life, but also there's a talk show, there's a game show, there's a video game. There's the game Duke escapes to, which is the multiplayer universe game, and those are all realized onstage, fully. The video elements help us go to those places."


First Published 2012-03-07 23:09:17

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